Summary: On the last of Dupin’s cases, the police contact asks him about a very high-end case involving blackmail. He is trying to recover a very incriminating letter from a man and there is a huge reward. The police have already secretly looked through all of the culprit’s things, but haven’t turned up anything. They seem to believe the thief, though high-ranking, is a stupid because he’s a poet. Dupin tells them to search everything again, which is really a wild-goose chase because then Dupin goes and gets the letter himself–for the reward of 50,000 francs. His reasoning process is that they wrongly assumed the man was a fool–poets are not actually fools but quite smart, and smart people would hide things in plain sight–the letter was disguised as another letter and hung up for anyone to see.
Sherlock Rating: I realized as I was reading this that the BBC Sherlock did a purloined letter episode; it went a little differently, but it was very similar. I appreciated this case more than the others because it stayed interesting throughout, though the poet/fool thing seemed stupid, but maybe that was a thought of the times. So, though there was no murder, I give it 4 out of 5 magnifying glasses.
Mystery Story Convention: I will go with a police search that yields nothing, and then a detective who goes in and finds what they are looking for immediately. I know how that is. I usually find whatever my roommate is looking for almost as fast.